DUBAI — Celebrating over three decades of success, Gulfood 2017, the world’s largest food and hospitality event is undergoing a revolutionary change in lay-out, format and visitor experience, marking a new era for the market leading exhibition that first traded in Dubai in 1987.
To increase accessibility and trading potential, Gulfood 2017 will focus on finished food and beverages and highlight eight of the biggest commodity trading sectors with dedicated halls organized by Beverages; Dairy; Fats & Oils; Health, Wellness & Free-From; Pulses, Grains & Cereals; Meat & Poultry; Power Brands and World Food.
Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC, said: “Not only will Gulfood’s new sectorized format allow visitors to get straight to business assessing quality and benchmarking price in their respective segments, but it will also lead to deeper market insights and trend awareness through focused consultation with the right experts in one place.”
The sectorization of Gulfood comes amid growing global sales across the eight show components. Global beverage sales are forecast to achieve year-on-year growth of 3.9 per cent in 2016 according to online market data and research portal, Statistica.com; the international dairy industry will shake-off the excess milk production and sluggish demand of recent years to post a slow recovery from 2017 onwards predicts IMARC Group; while the global fats and oils market is projected to reach a value of $247.78 billion by 2021 cites Markets&Markets.com.
“In addition to boosting travel, tourism and trade across the emirate, we expect the new sectorized format at Gulfood 2017 to generate billions of dirhams in legacy trading throughout the year and further enhance Dubai’s status as one of the world’s primary food trade re-export hubs,” added LohMirmand.
“The emirate is already the world’s biggest re-exporter of rice, coffee and tea, and Gulfood opens the door to international food industry professionals to learn more about the recent infrastructure and mega project developments – such as Dubai Wholesale City – that will further transform the emirate’s strategic potential as a re-export hub for the global food industry.”
Gulfood 2017 is a trade event open strictly to business and trade visitors. The show is open 11a.m.-7p.m. from Feb. 26 to March 1, 2017 and 11a.m.-5p.m. on March 2, 2017. Visitors can pre-register at www.gulfood.com to save AED150 ($40) on the on-site entry fee of AED350 ($95).
As part of this major re-alignment global buyers will discover more than 1,000 new-to-show food and beverage producers. With space already completely sold-out to exhibitors, February’s event will span more than 1,000,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space and purpose-built temporary structures that welcome a wave of new product innovations and services in-line with consumer demand both regionally and internationally.
As a key example, Halal World Food will further cement its standing as the world’s largest annual Halal food sourcing trade show through the new sectorized format. As international visitors continue to source a wide range of halal products for domestic markets, the vast majority of Halal-certified products at Gulfood will be showcased in a dedicated Meat & Poultry zone. This will enable buyers to easily locate and appraise produce relevant to their needs, whilst also acquiring granular insight into investment opportunities entering the Halal sector throughout the world.
LohMirmand further said: “Returning to Gulfood for a third consecutive year, Halal World Food aligns perfectly with Dubai’s objective to become a global Islamic economic capital. As one of Gulfood’s fastest-growing components, we are committed to making Halal World Food accessible and convenient for the many thousands of buyers eager to explore innovative sourcing options in this increasingly lucrative sub-sector.
Gulfood 2017 will feature 120 national pavilions including first-time participants from as far afield as Malta, Finland and Slovakia. The show will also see hundreds of international heads of state, ministers, government officials and scores of national trade associations eager to ink lucrative bi-lateral trade agreements among tens of thousands of anticipated visitors. Gulfood 2017 will host more than 5,000 local, regional and international companies from 120 countries displaying hundreds of thousands of finished food and beverage products.
Asked to share his opinion on the forthcoming changes awaiting the next edition of Gulfood, the Westin’s Back of House Manager at Mina Seyahi Complex, (UAE) Andre Muenster, said: “Categorizing Gulfood by market verticals will focus the onsite journey so it is aligned with commercial aims. That makes it easier to do business for both exhibitors and visitors alike, raising overall productivity at the show. The most important trends right now are those relating to health, so I particularly like the idea of a separate ‘Wellness’ category for 2017.”
In addition to its significantly expanded sourcing opportunities, one of Gulfood’s undisputed draws is the annual Emirates Culinary Guild International Salon Culinaire – the world’s largest single-entry chef competition. The Salon Culinaire will raise the profiles of more than 1,000 of the regions’ top professional chefs, pastry chefs, cooks and bakers for a series of competitions evaluated by a panel of renowned experts mandated by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) to judge culinary events across the globe.
Elsewhere, the eighth edition of the Gulfood Innovation Awards will recognize best-in-class excellence and innovation across the region’s food and drink industry. Divided into 20 categories, the highly-prestigious event is judged by an international panel of independent industry experts, with winners to be announced during the industry-renowned gala ceremony that is hosted alongside the exhibition. — SG